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Northern Michigan in control at NCAA Central Region Championships

CCSA

Wed, Feb  24, 2010 - By Dylan Dethier

HOUGHTON, Mich—The Northern Michigan Nordic ski teams used dominating performances on the men’s and women’s sides to take home top honors at the NCAA Central Regional Championship on Sunday. The Wildcats were in control after Saturday’s classic race and used Sunday’s 10/15k freestyle to ensure they remained in first. George Cartwright delivered a victory to lead the men, while Christina Gillis claimed top honors for the women.

Cartwright’s win was the first in the first-year’s young collegiate career and came on a big stage. He completed the 15k skate loop in 39 minutes, 42 seconds to beat Wisconsin-Green Bay runner-up Santiago Ocariz by 15 seconds. Spots 3-8 were just 5 seconds apart in the tight men’s competition, and NMU skiers Chris Bowler (40:06.6) and Kevin Cutts (40:06.9) completed the scoring from 6th and 7th place to put the Wildcat men in 1st with 79 points on the day.

Behind NMU, though, the men’s team competition was extremely tight in Sunday’s freestyle. Michigan Tech didn’t have a skier in the top 8 but swept places 9-11 behind the efforts of Oskar Lund (40:16), Jesse Smith (40:38), and Jesse Lang (40:51). This solid display put the Huskies in 2nd place on the day with 63 points.

Right on the heels of Michigan Tech was the College of St. Scholastica with 62 team points. Mason Bacso and Waylon Manske each cracked the top 10 for the Saints, as Bacso’s time of 40:06.6 was good for 5th and Manske (40:07.8) took 8th. Kasey Bacso (42:04) rounded out the team’s scoring from 21st. Alaska suffered a bit of a drop-off from Saturday’s classic race, but junior John Parry snuck into 4th as the Nanooks held on to 4th place on the day with 60 points. Parry (40:04.3) was backed by Tyler Kornfield (41:16) in 13th and a trio of Alaskans—Henri Soom (41:58.3), Ray Sabo (41:58.6), and Alex Morris (42:02.6)—in spots 18-20.

Gustavus Adolphus junior Jens Brabbit continued to cement his position as one of the league’s top skiers with a 3rd-place finish. Brabbit (40:02.5) was the first Gustie across the line, but teammate Anders Bowman scored (41:42) as well in 14th to help give GAC 5th place with 56 points on the day. Santiago Ocariz took a familiar spot on the podium as the race’s runner-up, crossing the line in a time of 39 minutes, 57 seconds to lead Wisconsin-Green Bay to a 47 point day, good for 6th place. St. John’s took 7th with 44 points behind Grant Cook (41:44) and Bob Gerten (41:57) in 15th and 17th, respectively. Tom Jorgensen (41:55) led St. Olaf from 16th place.

The NMU women put together a dominant showing and 1-2-3 finish for the second day in a row to post another perfect score of 87 team points. This time it was junior Christina Gillis who snagged the individual victory, skiing the 10k course in 30 minutes, 20 seconds. The women’s race was even tighter than the men’s, with the top 9 skiers separated by less than 25 seconds. Monica Markvardsen (30:25) was right on the heels of Gillis, while Saturday’s winner Laura DeWitt (30:26) was also in the mix in 3rd.

The Alaska women were in 2nd with 74 points in Sunday’s freestyle race. Aurelia Korthauer (30:27) led the team from 4th place, and was supported by 3 more teammates in the top 10. Nanooks Julia Pierson (30:42), Anna Coulter (30:44) and Theresia Schnurr (31:02) grabbed spots 8-10. Michigan Tech was 3rd as a team with 57 points in the skate race. Henna Riikonen-Purtsi (30:40) continued to be the fastest female Husky, coming in 7th. Kristen Monahan was next to finish for MTU and ended up in 19th.

The College of St. Scholastica was the 4th-place team Sunday behind 2 top-12 performances. Eleanor Magnuson (30:33) was 6th and Julia Curry (31:18) was 12th. The College of St. Benedict women finished 5th on the day, buoyed by Christi Nowak (31:34) in 14th. Megan Smith (31:38) was 17th for the Blazers to help give them 49 team points. Erica Hett (32:07) led Gustavus Adolphus with an 18th-place finish to help give the Gusties 45 points and 6th place in the freestyle race. Carolyn Freeman (31:05) was the top UW-GB finisher in 11th place. The Phoenix were 7th on the day with 42 points. St. Cloud State’s top finisher was Hannah Sanborn (32:53) in 28th. Emma Lee (32:26) led St. Olaf in 21st.

For the weekend, Northern Michigan was tops in both the men’s and women’s divisions. Michigan Tech was 2nd for the men with 139 points, 20 behind NMU. Alaska was 3rd with 132. St. Scholastica used a strong freestyle race to snag 4th with 118 points, just ahead of Gustavus Adolphus (110). St. John’s (92), Wisconsin-Green Bay (74), and St. Olaf (64) rounded out the men’s scores.

The NMU women posted a perfect score of 174 points, well ahead of 2nd-place Alaska’s 145. Michigan Tech was 3rd with 122, ahead of St. Benedict with 102. They were followed by St. Scholastica with 99 points, Gustavus Adolphus (89), Wisconsin-Green Bay (84), St. Cloud State (53), and St. Olaf (46).

For the weekend, Northern Michigan had the high combined team score with 323. Alaska was 2nd with 277, just ahead of Michigan Tech with 261. Below are the complete team scores.

For complete individual results check superiortiming.com.

Men’s Teams           10k Classic   15k Freestyle      Total
1. Northern Michigan    80 (1)         79 (2)           159
2. Michigan Tech        76 (2)         63 (1)           139
3. Alaska               72 (3)         60 (4)           132
4. St. Scholastica      56 (5)         62 (3)           118
5. Gustavus Adolphus    54 (4)         56 (5)           110
6. St. John’s           48 (6)         44 (6)            92
7. Wisconsin-Green Bay  27 (8)         47 (7)            74
8. St. Olaf             31 (7)         33 (8)            64

Women’s Team        5k Classic      10k Freestyle      Total
1. Northern Michigan    87 (1)         87 (2)           174
2. Alaska               71 (2)         74 (1)           145
3. Michigan Tech        65 (3)         57 (3)           122
4. C. of St. Benedict   53 (4)         49 (5)           102
5. St. Scholastica      46 (6)         53 (4)            99
6. Gustavus Adolphus    44 (5)         45 (6)            89    
7. Wisconsin-Green Bay  42 (7)         28 (7)            84
8. St. Cloud State      28 (8)         25 (9)            53
9. St. Olaf             19 (9)         27 (8)            46

Combined Team Score  5/10k Classic  10/15k Freestyle   Total
1. Northern Michigan   157 (1)        166 (1)           323
2. Alaska              143 (3)        134 (2)           277
3. Michigan Tech       141 (2)        120 (3)           261
4. St. Scholastica     102 (4)        115 (5)           217
5. Gustavus Adolphus    98 (5)        101 (4)           199
6. Wisconsin-Green Bay  69 (6)         75 (6)           144
7. St. Olaf             50 (7)         60 (7)           110
8. C. of St. Benedict   53 (9)         49 (9)           102
9. St. John’s           48 (8)         44 (8)            92
10. St. Cloud State     28 (10)        25 (10)           53